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A global view from a mountain town: how conservation became ingrained in Monteverde

06 / 09 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

Sitting in a cloud forest on top of the Cordillera de Tilarán, the mountaintop town of Monteverde, Costa Rica seems isolated. But, its view stretches far beyond its boundaries. In today’s world, many believe that individual actions cannot make a difference. However, in Monteverde one community, made up of many individuals, has become the driving force behind conservation. Monteverde is an exceptional place. It is an epicenter for biodiversity, international communities and scientific discovery. It was in these fog-shrouded forests that upslope migration of species was first documented. Unfortunately, in the tropics, mountain ecosystems – like cloud forests – are like canaries in a coal mine: they show early warning signs of climate change. “Conservation is important in Monteverde because it happens because of grassroots efforts,” says Dr. Karen Masters a biologist, professor, and resident of Monteverde for over thirty years. “It happens because individuals feel empowered to do something.” Farmers, scientists, and conservationists work hard—and work together—to be models and to have a global reach. In a time of rising sea levels, changing climates, dwindling biodiversity, and shifting landscapes, “Costa Ricans on a mountaintop get it, they value it, they believe in it, they think critically about it, and they act on it,” says Masters. The conservationist Looking to live in a truly peaceful place, 41 Quakers relocated from Alabama in 1951 to settle in the Monteverde zone in Costa Rica – the country without an army. The Quakers divided the land between families, but set aside one third of…

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